Haye-Bellew and Thurman-Garcia Double-header
David Haye vs. Tony Bellew, Keith Thurman vs. Danny Garcia

It’s quite the weekend with two good boxing cards and one slightly disappointing UFC card. That just shows that boxing isn’t dead and the UFC isn’t always the bee’s knees, even when the casuals can’t agree. (But what do they know?) The first one ended weirdly, while the second one lived up to my expectations, so I guess it was a mixed bag of sorts. While neither were superfights like Pacquiao vs. Mayweather, they were definitely more exciting to watch.

The first one was a grudge match, while the latter has the father of one of the boxers as the grudge. I tend to ignore most pre-fight shenanigans, but my Facebook news feed was filled with banter between Haye and Bellew fans (especially with people calling the latter “Bellend”), so it was hard not to get into it. Perhaps that was the plan after all, getting people to watch to see either one get starched.

Meanwhile, the only thing I can really take away from Thurman vs. Garcia is the winner of this match could fight the winner of Pacquiao vs. Khan next. I like that possibility, although that does mean Pacquiao will use more Filipino tax money to get another fight, which sucks major balls for us here in the Philippines.

I swear, his political career is feeding his boxing career these days. Then again, he’s actually not doing too badly as a senator as far as political maneuvering goes, much to our chagrin.

Tony Bellew vs. David Haye

David Haye has the physical and technical advantage in this matchup, but combat sports has never been simply about sureties. Haye vs. Bellew was a pretty good fight that ended rather weirdly due to an injury. However, we did see a tremendous show of heart from a man who fought through his misfortune a lot harder than athletes in other sports who suffered the same in the field.

I favored Haye as the favorite due to his sharpness, but I knew well enough that Bellew wasn’t to be scoffed at. If Tyson Fury could beat Wladimir Klitschko, he could give Haye some trouble. However, he was indeed being outboxed for the most part by his opponent during the first half of the match.

Then in the sixth round, the injury occurred. Achilles tendon tears are trifles; they disable foot movement and greatly hamper mobility. Since being able to move is pretty much the most important thing in fighting, arguably even more than attacking, Haye seemed to be doomed from that point on.

Perhaps his ankle self-destructed.

Despite that, he would fight for five more rounds, which is almost unthinkable. It’s a shame that all the trash talk and posturing during the pre-fight marred this valiant display as fans are now mostly laughing at Haye’s expense, even when Bellew recognized his opponent’s show of grit and tenacity.

A rematch should be along the horizon, despite talks of Bellew going on to challenge either Klitschko or Wilder. While I may be displeased with all the ugliness of the pre-fight, I can’t argue how such talent and media exposure has brought about a resurgence in British boxing.

With men like Haye and Bellew, as well as Fury, Chris Eubank Jr., Conor Benn, and so on, eyes are back on the United Kingdom when it comes to fisticuffs.

Keith Thurman vs. Danny Garcia

Keith Thurman is the more tactical fighter, while Danny Garcia is more straightforward. The former has the bigger power, while the latter has been known to time opponents’ advances, as he did against Amir Khan. This was an interesting stylistic match-up that went the distance as not a lot of really clean shots went in, making it a competitive fight.

Thurman seemed like the more elusive fighter, which frustrated Garcia and his father (who went insane about it afterwards). I’ve always liked his entries, setups, and how he throws in his uppercuts. Meanwhile, Garcia seemed to be on the backfoot as it was Thurman who was giving him problems to solve and not the other way around.

Other than the occasional rallies, most of the fight has been somewhat back and forth, with neither having a decisive advantage for long. However, I did think Thurman won more rounds and got in more than Garcia did, so I agree with the judges who gave it to him. This is one of the two close fights in that weekend, the other being the main event of UFC 209.

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